Recycling right in Auburn

Waste Management Recycle Corps interns on the job help us build recycling muscle memory

  • Thursday, July 11, 2019 7:41am
  • Opinion

It takes practice to get good at most things, whether it’s mastering a new exercise routine or learning a new language. After awhile, the newness wears off and we build muscle memory. What used to be complex or awkward becomes second nature.

That’s the challenge with recycling today. When China stopped accepting much of the recycling collected in the United States, a difficult truth emerged: we need to re-learn recycling. The old way of recycling isn’t working; our recycling containers are contaminated with garbage, food and other non-recyclables.

Contamination in the recycling stream is a pressing problem today because recycling standards around the world have changed. It’s more important than ever to put the right materials in the right containers to meet new market requirements and keep our local recycling program strong and healthy. We can do this by focusing our recycling energy on materials that are most likely to end up as new products, like cardboard and paper, tin and aluminum and plastic bottles, tubs and jugs.

To help build this new muscle memory and clean up recycling in Auburn, Waste Management (WM) is calling in a special cleanup crew – a team of multilingual college students trained by WM’s award-winning recycling education team.

The WM Recycle Corps intern program places students in Auburn each summer to engage with businesses, multi-family communities and whole neighborhoods and teach them how to waste less and recycle right. Waste Management developed the program to support the company’s year-round recycling outreach work and has deployed interns in Auburn every summer for the last eight years. The program even won the prestigious Gold Excellence Award – one of the highest honors in the recycling industry – from the Solid Waste Association of North America.

To prepare for their work in Auburn this summer, the WM interns completed intensive, hands-on job training. With support from WM recycling experts, they are educating people at local events, providing training at businesses and working directly with managers and tenants in our rapidly expanding multi-family housing communities. In fact, WM interns have unique expertise to help property managers create better signage and container placement to take the guesswork and inconvenience out of multi-family recycling.

The WM Recycle Corps interns are also working to break down language barriers that can hinder recycling participation. They’re using their multilingual skills to help make recycling accessible and inclusive for everyone in the Auburn community.

So, watch for the Waste Management interns this summer. They’re ready to help you build muscle memory, making recycling in Auburn what it should be – easy and fun.

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager. To see what’s recyclable in Auburn go to wmnorthwest.com/auburn/guidelines.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Who will advance to the November election? | Roegner

Races underway across state and King County.

Maybe there’s one silver lining in this current dark cloud

The pandemic has revealed President Trump’s weaknesses like never before.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
The police department of the future | Roegner

Based on comments from elected officials and police, the Black Lives Matter… Continue reading

Things in the news that trouble me

There’s so much happening in our country.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Reopen schools in fall, but do it safely

Don’t bully schools into reopening. Protect our students.

Guests gather to view a photo of Pilchuck Julia during the naming ceremony of the Snohomish River boat landing named for her in August, 2019. (Kevin Clark / Herald file photo)
Editorial: What history is owed through our monuments

The decisions regarding whom we honor in our public squares require deliberation and consensus.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Points of contention on police inquests in King County

Inquests frequently unfold against a backdrop of sadness and drama: Family members’… Continue reading

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
The search for selfhood

What really matters is the desire to find.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Defund the police department? | Roegner

Our country is at a defining moment in our search for true… Continue reading

Why this newspaper is capitalizing Black | Editorial

Moving forward, the Auburn Reporter will capitalize Black when referring to the… Continue reading

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading